Report: Healthcare Needs Stronger Emergency Preparedness

health future medical appA new report has found that more than half the country’s healthcare organizations aren’t built for readiness. How can they become better prepared?

The report, released with support from the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation, concluded that 26 states and the District of Colombia scored six or lower out of 10 indicators of emergency preparedness:

  1. Public Health Funding Commitment
  2. National Health Security Preparedness Index
  3. Public Health Accreditation
  4. Flu Vaccinations
  5. Climate Change Readiness
  6. Food Safety
  7. Reducing Healthcare-Associated Infections
  8. Public Health Laboratories – biosafety training
  9. Public Health – biosafety staffing
  10. Emergency Healthcare Access

Massachusetts was the only state that scored on all 10 indicators, while the lowest score of 3 went to Alaska and Idaho.

Part of the problem: the current health system isn’t built for readiness, meaning each emergency diverts time, attention and resources away from other needs. Budget cuts are another issue, as preparedness funding for states went from $940 million in 2002 to $660 million in 2016.

The areas of accomplishment should make resilience professionals proud, at least: emergency operations, communication and coordination were noted areas of improvement.

Among the report’s recommendations:

  • Require a strong, consistent baseline of foundational public health capabilities
  • Ensure stable emergency preparedness funding, which would provide immediate surge funding during an emergency
  • Improve federal leadership before, during, and after disasters, and
  • Develop stronger coalitions and partnerships among providers, hospitals, insurance providers, emergency management, and other healthcare organizations.

To strengthen their organization’s emergency preparedness capabilities, healthcare professionals should look to DRI International’s Healthcare Continuity training and certification. HCLE2000 and HCP 501 teach healthcare organizations how to develop a comprehensive business continuity program that helps employees and patients by protecting service delivery and data availability when they’re needed most. Students will learn business continuity best practices for the healthcare field, with a curriculum that reflects the NFPA 1600, Joint Commission, HIPAA, and other vital laws, regulations, and standards. Click here for more information, or call 866-542-3744.

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